Wrong Goodbye

Wrong Goodbye

A Story by Nathan Thompson

This is a story I thought about last night about how fulfilling obligation and revealing yourself to the one you're with is always the best thing even if you find it very hard to do.


Samantha stared at the DVD clenched between her fingers as she slowly sipped at the tea she held in her other hand while she tried to decide whether to watch it or not.

Three months of nothing…and now this, she mused as she looked at the blank, non-descript disk.

Samantha and Peter had been going out for nearly four years. They were both twenty-five, they had been engaged for six months. Both had got good jobs after university, both wanted kids, or so he had said, they had even chosen names for their future kids " Steven for the first boy; Jessica for the first girl" they even had a pretty good idea of where they were going to live after they were married. Now, however, things were very different from what Samantha had expected. She thought they would be married by now, maybe still decorating their new house, maybe even gently rubbing an ever expanding belly in eager anticipating. Now she was alone, save for a roommate in a new flat. A part of her, she knew, was still in shock about them breaking up. Thinking about it still made her angry.

Peter had just changed. Days without making-love turned into weeks. He became more irritable. He started to disappear for hours at a time without saying where he was going or what he was doing and whenever she had tried calling him on his mobile during those times his phone was always off. When he got back he would barely talk to her, instead he just went to bed, looking exhausted.

Samantha had, of course, tried talking to him about it, asking him if something was wrong. Had she upset him in some way? His responses were always to start an argument, accusing her of being domineering and demanding that he explain his every movement. Why couldn’t she, for once, mind her own business and just trust him? Trust was running out however, she couldn’t carry on with this forever. She knew he was hiding something from her, something important. She had asked Mike, his best friend, and he had just looked awkward. Always saying the same thing, “if he hasn’t told you, I can’t,” that had made her go from worried to outright panic.

And then she had done the last thing she thought she ever thought she would do. The complete display of lost trust, she started to spy on him. She had her own friends call her if they saw him out with other girls. She started reading his facebook messages after having watched him type in his password but found nothing. His phone was also unhelpful in shedding light on what was going on as the only text messages he got were from her. Reading them back to herself made tears well in her eyes. He never deleted them. Not a single one. Their friends had thought it was strange but she had found it sweet. She had felt ashamed of herself for snooping; the fact that he had still kept her text messages showed her that the formerly caring, loving, sensitive guy was still buried under this new, secretive, rather cold and hurtful man. Samantha had to know what was wrong and so she had kept searching, and that was when she had found it, a pack of condoms in his pocket and an open wrapper for one that looked as if it had been hastily opened. She had felt cold then, despair had swelled in her and suffocated her to the point where she had rushed to the toilet and vomited her guts out, crying all the while.

So this was the explanation, this is what he had been doing when he had been going out. She imagined that’s where he was right now. That’s probably why he’d left his phone. He was probably tired of getting missed call messages on his phone, probably sick of his inconvenience of a fiancée. When she had vomited all she could she stood and looked at herself in the bathroom mirror and didn’t recognise the woman she saw. Peter would be back soon she knew. She also knew he wasn’t going to find her like this! Some poor abandoned wreck of a girl! She flushed the toilet and cleaned her teeth. Reapplied her make-up and tried not to cry. All emotion, save for anger, left her and she sat in the living room of their shared flat, waiting for him to come and face what he had done to her. Hours past but her anger didn’t, instead it grew by the minute. How dare he make her wait like this? How dare he cavort with some little s**t and then come back and slip into their bed as if he had done nothing other than walk into the room?

Peter came back, close to mid-night. Exhaustion etched into every line of his face. He glanced at Samantha’s face and then on the condom packet and her engagement ring she had left on the coffee table and visibly paled. She didn’t ask, he didn’t deny. He looked in utter turmoil. Colour had drained not just from his face but from his entire body. Had Samantha seen him like this a few months previous she wouldn’t have recognised him. Without a word, he went and packed a suitcase with a few clothes, picked up her engagement ring from the table, leaving the condoms and muttered something about him staying at Mike's and that Mike would come tomorrow for the rest of his things and then left. She hadn’t shouted, she felt as if she wouldn’t even have been able to raise her voice enough too shout. It had been an hour after he left before she felt inclined to do more than sit there and then she started to cry, after another half-hour she had picked herself up and tidied a few things. She threw the condoms away, resisting the urge to tear them to shreds. She felt that if she were to start destroying things she wouldn’t stop at just a packet of condoms. She packed a few things of her own and then went to her own best friends ,Mary, and cried her heart out.

Mike, she presumed, had come the next day and took all Peter’s clothes and a few photo’s leaving Samantha with everything else. Even his PS3 which before they had joked he loved almost as much as he loved her.

That had been three months ago.

The worst three months of her life

The longest three months of her life

The most lonely three months of her life

And then out of the blue Mike had knocked on her door, white as a sheet baring this DVD and asked only that she watch it and refused to leave until she had promised. She didn’t blame Mike who was married with a kid himself. All her anger was for Peter.

She finished her tea and then, with a rising feeling of trepidation walked to the DVD player and inserted the disk. She turned the television on and stared at the screen as the disk loaded and waited. After a couple of seconds a man appeared on the screen, pale as a corpse and stick thin, he looked as if he was in his late seventies early eighties in what looked like a hospital room and then she choked out a sob as she realised it was Peter. It couldn’t be, good God! What had happened to him?

“Is it on Mike?” he asked an unseen person. His voice was as silent and weak as a breeze and Samantha had to turn the sound up to maximum to hear it.

“Yeah, Pete, you sure you wanna do this?” Mike’s voice spoke.

“Yes,” said Peter with a slight nod, “I wish I had told her sooner.” He turned to the camera and Samantha felt as though Peter was looking at her not the lens.

“Samantha, if you are watching this then Mike didn’t throw the DVD in the bin like he said he was going to do and has brought it to you, probably with a tear in his eye,” the camera wobbled, Peter smiled slightly and Samantha for the first time saw Peter in the weak man’s face the smile faded. “I’m sorry Samantha, sorry for everything. Sorry for not being honest from the start, sorry for being a coward, sorry for not being there with you now, sorry for not being the father of your children that I so wanted to be.”

A tear ran down his cheek. “Steven and Jessica will have to have a different father now. Make sure you have them Sam, don’t commit my mistake and believe that loneliness is easier. It isn’t. Loneliness doesn’t make you immune to pain, it only makes you lonely. While we were still together I was feeling ill so I went to the doc. Who sent me to hospital and now just four months later here I am, on what is doubtless to be my deathbed soon.” Samantha started crying in earnest as she watched the man she had loved unburdening his soul.

“I have pancreatic cancer Sam, I never cheated on you. I put the condoms there in my pocket for you to find. Those days I went out when you didn’t know where I was, I was getting treatment. You see now why I’m a coward. I couldn’t face you Sam. I couldn’t go on if I thought you were watching me slowly and painfully die. I couldn’t just leave you because I knew you would pursue me and find out. I needed you to get angry with me, so angry that you wouldn’t want to see me ever again. I’m sorry as well for manipulating you like that. Mike’s pretty much the only friend I have left because of it. Everyone else was disgusted at me for it but I say let them lie here and then judge me!” Anger gave his face a twinge of colour which quickly faded, “I’m sorry I got angry, irritability is another reason I have few visitors at the moment. Last month I stopped the Kemo treatments. Pancreatic cancer is bad Sam, one of the worst, rare for anyone our age to get it and rarer still for it to be as rampant as I’ve got it. Doctors have said that I might have another week. To be honest I’m not that optimistic. I think I’ve only got a couple of days to go.” He gave a shudder and winced as undoubtedly a wave of pain hit him.

“Please forgive me Sam, forgive me for being such a selfish s**t and not telling you sooner. I want you to be here but I can’t bring myself to call you and I don’t think I have the right to ask you to come after all that I have done. Forgive me because, right now, I think you are the only one that might, I know I don’t forgive myself.”

“I’m dead now, Sam,” Samantha cried out at these words, “I got Mike to promise me that he wouldn’t give you this DVD until the day after I die. I hope you go to my funeral. It would be showing everyone that you forgive me but I won’t ask you to go unless you do forgive me. What I have done is monstrous Sam, even sending you this DVD is cowardice in itself because I don’t have to witness any tears that you may shed. I want you to have it because I think now, at the end, you deserve the truth.”

“I love you Samantha, I always have, always will. Don’t hate me too much Sam, please. May you have a long and happy life my love, you certainly deserve it more than I do.”

With that the DVD stopped playing, and Samantha stared at the screen, feeling dead inside. Why had he done this? Why had that b*****d done this! Anger rose along side grief and she threw the remote with all her love and anger and pain and strength at the television screen which shattered on impact. She only wished love was as quick to destroy, she looked at the screen, anger was there, grief was there, love was there, forgiveness was not.

© 2010 Nathan Thompson

Author's Note

Nathan Thompson
I once thought that this would be the kinder thing to do if this ever happened. I realise now of course how wrong this is because the girl I'm with now means everything to me and if she were dying and never told me I know how devastated I would be. I hope you all like at and don't judge Peter too harshly, he did wrong but he also died alone.

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I totally agree that is too hard to forgive hiding such a thing from your partner or loved one specially, you might be able to hide from you friends or family but not your love, it's just too much to ask for forgiveness, I'm sure he had good intentions but he still hurt too deeply and she will need a life-time to recover from this pain and his loss, your story is simply spectacular I enjoyed it very much, brilliant work.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Pretty gut wrenching stuff..........sad, and yes anger, that he made a decision to shut her out, leaving no time to do what she would have wanted to, just be there for him....... but I guess he was trying to protect her.I was hooked! Great emotional descriptions!

Posted 10 Years Ago

there are those stories we read and comment on - and others that just cause a gut reaction. i concur with Cat's review for sure.

Posted 11 Years Ago

yeah, I can see why the forgiveness didn't come. Such a selfish man! When you deny others the chance to be there for you... you deny them more than you can ever imagine. You may want to do another proof read for some missing words or word endings (ed, ing). Otherwise, a very good write, kept me interested and shocked and also made me feel anger. Excellent!!!!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago

Sometime we must beyond our imagination and see the real reasons for things in a life. The story was very good. You brought me in with strong beginning. Took me in with guilt and a escape. I would do the same for someone I believe. Sometime better to leave then create great misery. The ending was very sad. Would be a bear of a feeling to try to understand his death of cancer. A outstanding story.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on May 21, 2010
Last Updated on May 28, 2010
Tags: Dying, couple, cancer, love, forgiveness, separation
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Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson

Manchester, United Kingdom

Well, hi there all...erm...I'm Nathan, I'm 26 and I live in Manchester, England (for the people who consider England too small a country to know where it is, it's that weird shaped one just above Fra.. more..


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